A Weekend in Cebu

Tim and I always wanted to visit Cebu so we thought why not visit the island over the weekend and check it out. My uncle joined us on this trip and here is what we did in Cebu.

Day 1 Tour

Temple of Leah

Cebu Taoist Temple

Heritage of Cebu Monument

Casa Gorordo Museum

Magellan Cross

Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu

Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral

Fort San Pedro

Dinner at Larsian

Day 2 Tour


Swam with Whale Sharks

Sumilon Island/ Sumilon Island Sand Bar

Quartel Beach

Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church

Cebu City

SM Seaside Mall

Z Hostel – Makati, Manila

Tim and I stayed at Z Hostel in Manila for a couple of nights and it’s one of the best hostels we stayed at. We didn’t pay much and location was suburb. At the roof top they’ve got a bar which turns into a mini club and has an amazing view of the city.

We highly recommend the hostel whenever you visit Manila. Z Hostel offers good breakfast and a nice cozy common area to use your laptop or read a book. The hostel also offers good recommendations on what to do around the city.

Budget : $$

Hotel Service : 8/10

Visited : March 2017

Tips :

  • Check out the area around the hostel. It has one of the best night life in Manila.

*this is not a sponsored post and all opinions are my own

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Our 14 days Travel Itinerary

Tim and I took 14 days off of work; actually to be precis, we took 10 working days off to finalise personal errands in the Philippines and then continue our holiday to other destinations.

So our itinerary of 14 days covered, Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong and Macau. I guess being a full-time employee to a huge organisation restricts our travels because of the limited days off.

In UAE, we are entitled for 22 working days off but being an expatriate, our holidays include visiting families abroad which means travelling to the same destination quite often. We don’t mind it at all because we really do miss them. So our current travel mission is to cover as much places as we can in a short period of time.

Here is how our itinerary looked like (not detailed)

Day 1: Landed late night in Philippines

Day 2: Makati, Philippines

Day 3:

  • Bonifacio Global City, Philippines
  • Rockwell
  • Travelled to Japan

Day 4: Landed in Narita Airport and took a bullet train to Kyoto

Day 5: Kyoto

Day 6: Nara & Kyoto

Day 7: Kyoto and took a bullet train to Tokyo

Day 8: Tokyo

Day 9:

  • Tokyo
  • Travelled to Philippines

Day 10:

  • Landed in Philippines and spent 5 hours at a nearby hotel
  • Travelled to Hong Kong
  • Explored Kowloon Island

Day 11: Macau & Hong Kong Island

Day 12: Lantau Island – travelled to Philippines

Day 13: Eastwood, Green Hills, Pasig, Marikina and Antipolo.

Day 14: We woke up an hour before check out and had breakfast in Pasig and headed straight to the airport.


PHEW!!! Typing the itinerary was as tiring as the trip but worth it. LOL. I really want to dedicate time to write about it because we’ve learned a lot and observed a lot and I’m dying to share everything with you.

Unlike most of my other posts, I want to put a lot more effort into writing about our experiences and stories, particularly Japan. I’ve visited 20+ countries and Tim has been to 30+ countries and by far our favourite country is Japan and I can’t think of any other place that can beat it. It was Tim’s third visit and that says a lot and I can’t wait to go back.


Philippines – Island Hopping in El Nido

Philippines – Island Hopping in El Nido

El Nido is by far the most beautiful place we’ve visited in Palawan. Since there are no local flights that arrives there, we had to take a bumpy 6 hours’ van journey from Puerto Princesa. Yes, it was extremely tiring. Mohammad and I fell asleep the whole journey however Tim watched the Dare Devil series on his tablet. As soon as we arrived, we got on a tricycle straight to our hostel which is located 2 minutes away from the beach.

We stayed in El Nido for 2 days only so here goes our adventure summarised in one blog post.

Day 1:

We checked out the beach side that’s next to our hostel and decided to explore the area. Tim and I found a reasonably priced massage centre so we of course went in to get pampered while my brother Mohammad continued exploring the neighbourhood.

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As soon as we were done, Mohammad told us about this area called Barangay Corong Corong which was a 15 minutes’ journey by tricycle from our area called Maligaya. That area has a strip of resorts and amazing hotels by the beach. We just walked along and found a restaurant with amazing view of two islands. Anyway on our way back to the tricycle, one of the resorts had a night club on the beach and there was a party going on since none of us are party people, we decided to head back to our beach and chill at the Jamaican bar.

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We ordered mojitos and nachos but after some time we all got annoyed at the DJ. He continuously kept saying ‘check mic, mic check’ so we left the bar and went to an Arabic restaurant instead. Yup, like we don’t have enough Arabic culture in UAE. So we spent the night smoking grape mint shisha.

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Day 2:

There are several types of Island Hopping and according to the islands we were interested to visit, they were all under Type A. At around 8 in the morning, our tour guide picked us up from the hostel and we followed him to the beach where the boat was waiting. Our group consisted for 4 tour guides, 3 Spanish friends and their maids, 1 American guy and a family.

Type A Island Hopping is a tour around 5 islands that will be mentioned below. They are the ‘MUST VISIT’ destinations in Palawan. I won’t be describing much of the islands, I will let the images do it for you.

Island #1 Small Lagoon

As soon as we got there, the tour guide said we could either swim around or rent a kayak. So we all looked at each other and jumped into the water.



Island #2 Big Lagoon

We didn’t swim but we really admired the beauty of the Lagoon


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Island # 3 Secret Lagoon – Super Secret No Pictures So Go See for Yourself LOL

You will need your wet suit shoes, actually you will need it the whole time in Palawan. There are a lot of corals and you will be stepping on a lot of them at the secret lagoon. If you can’t swim, you will need a life jacket because its deep. The water is dark and you won’t be able to see what’s underneath you.

Island # 4 Shimizu Island

We didn’t do much. We just relaxed and got sun kissed while the tour guides caught fish and prepared lunch for us. Yup, food fresh and was live BBQ.

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Island # 5 Seven Commandos Beach

Best island tow swim and drink coconuts. We stayed at the island an extra hour because the American guy was missing. After sending groups of guides to help locate him, they found him sleeping on top of a tree LOL13096190_10154139683828103_6917004366381067948_n



As soon as we arrived back to our shore, Tim and I went for a massage. Mohammad met us later and we all went to this awesome burger place near the hostel called Lucky Alofa. I’m not kidding, it was the best burger we had, it looked and tasted juice and ahhh the sauce was so heavenly. We were so hungry, we forgot to take pictures.

When we got back to the hostel, we packed our bags to get ready for our 2AM trip back to Puerto Princesa. We had to catch an early flight back to Manila and it was a 6 hours bumpy drive. We stopped a couple of times to pee by the road but since I’m a female, I peed behind the van while it’s pitch black and random cars passing with their bright lights on. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE.


Anyway we managed to reach there early so we got on an early flight. Awh Palawan was such an amazing adventure.

Also guys, if you are looking for a budgeted place to stay, our hostel is called Melting Pot, El Nido. The location is perfect and not far from the beach and restaurants. Check it out.

Tim and I officially declare Palawan as our island to be hehe


Philippines – Fun times with Familia in Manila

Philippines – Fun times with Familia in Manila

People think Manila is another typical city but Naaaahhh you don’t know my Manila. I love it there and so does Tim. Yes, it does depend on the area you visit but there are wonderful areas in Manila to see.

Visiting the capital means hang outs and fun times with my cousins. Gosh! It was such a family affair to see all my cousins and their kids. We are like the brady brunch but cousins LOL, if that made sense. Lets say a Full House but Fuller.

Tim and I visited Manila accompanied by my brother ‘Mohammad’ who visited the Philippines after 19 years to spend some time with the FAMILIA GRANDE.

Here are the places we spent time together with the pinsans (tagalog word for cousins)

East Wood:

It was the perfect place for dining and shopping for  any international brands. Tim bought t-shirts from a Japanese store and we grabbed coffee from Costa.



The place has a selection of Filipino restaurants with the traditional/ cultural ambience and live band and of course the PET VILLAGE. So many cute dogs to play with.


Bonifacio Global City: 

Beautiful area of Manila and extremely posh. We visited my cousin’s condo and most of the cousins met and had a great time playing games and chit chatting.


We also went to an area called Ortigas for a Karaoke night.

There are so many things to do in Manila but for us its more of catching up with the cousins and hanging out.




Philippines – Trip to Laguna and Antipolo Windmills

My Tita* Marina and her husband Tito* Toni took us to Laguna and Antipolo Windmills with Tita Ester and  her husband Tito Ernie.

*Tita is the Filipino word for Aunt and Tito means Uncle. 

Hahhahaha I just realised how that sentence above is long, just so I can introduce you to my family.

Anyway we (referring to my Filipino familia) are originally from a place called Illocos Norte which is known for windmills so my Illocano family said since they can’t take us up north to see the windmills better visit antipolo instead which is closer to their houses.

Although it was a long drive to the windmills, the scenery was stunning. Surrounded by all the greenery and nature. We visited a small museum that displayed images on how a windmill works.



Anyway we didn’t stay long so we continued our trip to a province nearby called Laguna. We wanted to go to Pagsanjan Fall* but the tour guide was ripping us off. So here’s the thing, we paid around PhP 1000 for Tagaytay for a whole boat but in Laguna they were charging us PhP 1000 for each person so HELL WITH THAT.

*Pagsanjan Fall: A famous waterfall located in Laguna and is a tourist destination. 

We were all starving so we went to a restaurant near the city gate that was built by the Spaniards. I sincerely apologise but I don’t remember the name of the place. It was really hot that day and I felt ill. The waiter at the restaurants gave me a bag of ice to place it on my head to be able to cool down.

Honestly, there are lots of places to visit in Laguna and so many adventurous things to do but I just wanted a nice quality time with my family and enjoy their company so unfortunately I cannot recommend anything about Laguna but all I know they are known for ‘Hot Springs’. Add Laguna to your Philippines list. You won’t regret it.

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Philippines – Holy Water & Holy $#!T

We got picked up really early  and dropped at a station to take a van to join a group of tourists to head to the Underground River. *Phew* lool

We arrived at a meeting point with other groups to take a boat to get to the other side of the island. The tour guides gave us our group number so we won’t get lost and also be able to identify our team.

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As we got to our destination, we were so mesmerised by the scenery that we decided to just enjoy the moment. We were later called to get on a small boat that took us to the cave and were instructed not to open our mouths in the cave because either we would taste the dripping Holy water or Holy S*** from the Bats so literally S***.

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Mid way through the cave, I kinda got bored and decided to play a prank on my brother and cousin who were sitting in front of me. I’d take a handful of water and pour it on their neck. I heard them whisper to each other “Is that bat S***?” “Yes, I think it’s Holy S***”. Tim and I couldn’t stop giggling. Gosh! I know, I’m evil.

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On our way out, the tour guide told us to get ready for our next activity  and later asked each one of us who wanted to go on the Sabang X Zip-line or had the choice of enjoying lunch on the beach. Obviously we went for the Zip-line and the group got split into two.

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Mohammad and Marvin

The view from the zip-line was WOOOOW!!! Anyway as soon as we got to the other side, we were wondering where the HELL TO GO.  We actually thought our tour guide would be waiting for us to take us to the restaurant but no one was there. So we decided to walk and navigate our way to civilisation.

After walking for God knows how long, a random jeep found us and decided to help us find the restaurant. As soon as we located our group, we were like monsters we attacked the buffet and kept eating and eating and eating. After a long day of activity, we went back to our hostel/ resort and hanged out by the river.



We really did enjoy our time in Puerto Princesa, there’s so much to do there. Till we see you again beautiful Island.*Note: You don’t have to book tours in advance, there are many tour guides at the Puerto Princesa airport but BARGAIN your rates. Luckily, my cousin arranged the trip for us but seriously always BARGAIN.


Our random jeep ride



Philippines – Love and Peace Jungle River Paradise Resort

After an exhausting day of Island hopping, our tour guide dropped us to our hostel/resort on a tricycle. It’s an Asian form of transportation and in other countries such as Thailand, they call it ‘Tuk Tuk’.

The hostel/ resort is the perfect place to enjoy and love nature. It’s located in the jungle and the rooms are facing the river. We booked a room that offered 2 floors, Tim and I slept on the lower floor while Marvin and Mohammad had to climb up a ladder to get to their beds. Our room did not have hot water, TV or air-conditions but it was hell of an experience.

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During our stay, the resort/ hostel was being managed by adorable children. The kids were so accommodating and we spent the night telling ghost stories and teasing each other. The funniest thing though was when one of the guests asked for a beer from the 10 year old boy LOL. The boy is super cute, he is the little boy I’m carrying in the below picture and his name is John.

Mohammad and I usually sit and relax on the hammocks while Tim and Marvin sat on a water doughnut floating on the river. Talk about relaxation 🙂

The pictures below show how cozy and cool the place is. It was an awesome experience to stay in the middle of of the jungle. We had no TV and no proper internet. We really did enjoy our stay, till next time Puerta Princesa.

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Philippines – Island Hopping in Puerto Princesa

Philippines has 7,107 islands and out of all of them, we were so eager to visit Palawan. My brother ‘Mohammad’ and cousin ‘Marvin’ accompanied us on this adventure to Paradise.

Maldives can be Paradise but it’s nothing compared to Palawan.

Marvin organised the whole trip and as soon as we landed in Puerto Princesa which is where the airport is located in Palawan; our tour guide immediately took us Island Hopping, so we changed into our swimming outfits and got in the boat straight to Cowrie Island for lunch.

Below are the 4 islands we visited in Puerto Princesa.

Cowrie Island: The island is sunny and the sands white. We stopped there and enjoyed a delicious seafood buffet and walked around the island to digest before heading to our next island to snorkel and of course we drank lots of Buko which means Coconuts in Tagalog.

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Luli Island: We arrived on the shore of the island and took our snorkeling gears with us. While Tim, Marvin and I jumped in the snorkeling area, Mohammad decided to stay back and enjoy the scenery and he explored the island. Tim and Marvin were enjoying their time feeding the little fishies and I went back to the shore to relax.

Turtle Island: By far Turtle Island is favourite place to dive in Puerto Princesa. I’ve done snorkeling before but I’ve never seen such beautiful creatures under water. It was given the name Turtle Island because of the location and the huge turtle on the top of the board.


Starfish Island: The last island we visited in Puerto Princesa was the Starfish Island, it was the perfect island to go for a swim and the island is filled with … yup, you’re right… STAR FISH.

If ever you visit Palwan, you should go Island Hopping and enjoy every moment of it. Never ever forget to take your water camera.